Author Topic: Where do you get your wire?  (Read 727 times)

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arbomambo

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Where do you get your wire?
« on: June 25, 2014, 09:48:15 AM »
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Hello all...
taking stock of all the details for the Skytop Models ATSF 64' baggage car builds...I noticed that my supply of brass wire is very low...
I've used the wire from Precision scale before (I think that's what I currently have), but I really need to settle on a regular supply for all these builds...specifically a size that's good for car grabs and rails...
Where do you get your supply of wire, and more importantly, what diameter to use?...I'm using #79 and #80 drill bits...
Thanks,
Bruce
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
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wmcbride

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 10:56:28 AM »
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I've found that the quickest and reliable source for wire (say manufactured by Precision Scale) is ebay.
Bill McBride

bnsfdash8

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 11:04:10 AM »
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My go to wire is Tichy 0.008" phosphore bronze wire. I find phosphor bronze is much easier to work with than regular brass wire.

I used the Tichy wire on this future NS C40-8 on the front railings and grab irons.

Reese
Modeling Norfolk Southern one loco at a time.

ednadolski

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 11:36:28 AM »
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My go to wire is Tichy 0.008" phosphore bronze wire. I find phosphor bronze is much easier to work with than regular brass wire.

I used the Tichy wire on this future NS C40-8 on the front railings and grab irons.

+1.  For scale handrails, brass is too easily bent out of shape, and PB is far more robust.

For grabirons, I make my own from 0.005" stainless steel wire.  I used to get that from Small Parts but AFAIK they are part of Amazon now:

http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Unpolished-Precision-Tolerance-Diameter/dp/B00CNLXNW6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403710361&sr=8-1&keywords=0.005%22+stainless+steel+wire

Ed

wazzou

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 11:55:27 AM »
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Tichy.
Bryan

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mmagliaro

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 12:12:26 PM »
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Tichy for phosphor bronze wire in .008, .010, .015, and .020 sizes.
For steel, I use steel music wire: .015", .020", .025" and .032",
 which is usually in the "K&S" racks at a lot of hardware stores (and at
a local hobby shop if you have one).
I rarely use steel, except for turnout linkages, where I want something super-springy and thin, yet strong.

For brass wire: also K&S for .016 and .020 (and larger).

I did buy a stash of brass wire in 36" lengths in .010, .016 and .020 sizes years ago, and I still
have it, but I have no idea where I got it.

arbomambo

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2014, 12:47:14 PM »
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Thanks for these replies...I like the idea of the Phosphor bronze wire...
which diameters correspond best for passenger car grabs?....baggage door handrails, etc...best diameter for #79 and #80 holes?
-Bruce
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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peteski

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2014, 03:11:51 PM »
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#80 drill diameter is 0.0135", so anything smaller than that will fit.   :D

I get most of my brass wire (or is it really called "rod"?) from Special Shapes (now division of K&S tubing).  They also sell thin-wall brass tubing, and lots of other useful metal shapes.

For phosphor bronze I use Tichy.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
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mmagliaro

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2014, 05:13:46 PM »
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What he said (about the holes).

.008" is about 1.25"  "pipe" in real life.
.010" is  1.6"

Real life grabirons, I believe are more like 5/8"  so the .008" is closer to scale.

But in actual practice, for cars or locos, I tend to use these two wire sizes such that
smaller features come out looking smaller than larger features.  For example, if I want a
handrail along a steam loco boiler to look larger than the smaller lines that are snaking around the surface
of the boiler, I will use .008 for the lines and .010 for the handrail, scale be darned.
If you want the foot stirrup on a freight car to look bigger than the grabs, .010 for the stirrup and .008 for the grabs.

The only other thing to consider is how sturdy you want it.   That depends on your personal experience.  You may find
that .010" wire is better because you don't break pieces off as easily, regardless of whether it is oversized.

robert3985

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2014, 06:07:13 PM »
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Although all the advice here is pretty good, I use .007" stainless wire for my grabs, and drill .007" holes with my high-speed-steel bits after punching a teeny dimple with a sharpened 1/8" tungsten carbide rod.

I use the polished .007" grabs unpainted for my passenger cars where they protoypically would be either chrome or nickle plated.

I also use them when I need painted ones, but I buff them with 400 grit emery paper first so they've got "tooth" and the paint will stick better.  The reason I like the stainless over phosphor bronze is because on engines and cars, the first place the paint wears off is the grabs, and I'd rather see something silver than something brassy/bronzy looking under the paint when it wears/chips off.

I went down to the Utah Railway Museum at the Ogden Union Station a few years ago and took measurements of various grab iron diameters on steam engines, diesel engines and freight cars, and they are not all the same, some instances there will be half a dozen different diameters on the engine/car for whatever reason, depending on their location and how many layers of paint is covering 'em up.  The minimum diameter I measured was 3/4" (.0047" in N-scale).  The larged diameter were a couple of grabs on the U.P. 0-6-0 switcher tender that were 1.75" (.0109" in N-scale).

Although Ed's .005" grabs look great, they're probably closer to .007" after they're painted.  Since the vast majority of grabs I make are not painted, I went with a rough average diameter of .007" or, the equivalent to a grab that is 1.12" in diameter.  When I paint 'em, they're probably .009" in diameter, which is still good looking in N-scale at a scale 1.44" diameter.

I am sure there are other places than Small Parts to get small diameter SS wire/rod, 'cause Small Parts at Amazon doesn't have it in stock...along with a lot of other small materials.  A crying shame.  Glad I got plenty the last time I ordered.

peteski

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Re: Where do you get your wire?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2014, 06:54:32 PM »
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I am sure there are other places than Small Parts to get small diameter SS wire/rod, 'cause Small Parts at Amazon doesn't have it in stock...along with a lot of other small materials.  A crying shame.  Glad I got plenty the last time I ordered.

I'm still really peed-off that Amazon destroyed Small Parts Inc!!  They killed one of the greatest source of materials I used to have.  I still have couple of their older catalogs, but what good are they if the items are no longer stocked.
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